I found out about LessWrong via this community session on the 35. Chaos Communication Congress. It was by far the best talks I had while on congress. And that says something because during congress I usually have lot and lots of good talks.

Personally I feel like there are rather-emotional and rather-rational people. Personally I'm far into the rather-rational territory and I look forward to meeting new people, learning about new ideas and generally advancing my decision making. I study computer science and I read one or another grand philosophical book so far... I'd personally consider myself "GIT/GP/GO" which is Geek Code V3 for "Geek of Information Technology / Geek of Philosophy / Geek of Other".

Bio last updated 2019-10-10.


Sorted by New


Urgent & important: How (not) to do your to-do list

I'm reading this article to distract me from my GTD Weekly Review.

What to optimize for in life?

Life Satisfaction. Some people name this "tranquility" and I think the name is very common in the "minimalism" community (because they try to optimize tranquility as far as I can tell). Life Satisfaction is very complex. It's not "maximize amount of friends" or "maximize amount of money" but instead requires constant introspection & skills related to introspection.

Thiel on Progress and Stagnation

I'm also very suspicious of the idea that most of it is original thinking.

It's not important weather or not it's original or not.
In my opinion "I tell you something which make sense" is less important than "I tell you something AND show that this is a more accurate way of thinking than the alternative ideas".

Thiel on Progress and Stagnation

Unlike the world of politics, in the world of technology the choices of individuals may still be paramount. The fate of our world may depend on the effort of a single person who builds or propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for capitalism.

I highly question this. So apparently I have no say in a democracy but when I am an inventor then I can shape the world? So the activists who lobby for green energy are doing nothing? Governments spending money for research are doing nothing?

I highly doubt that this romantic "single genius" idea is ever so slightly accurate. Usually people create companys and NGOs and sportsteams because together you are stronger, no matter how smart some individual.

Thiel on Progress and Stagnation

Your argument is correct but the premise, that common media coverage on technology is black/white and that futuristic media is mostly dystopian still holds.

I haven't ran any studies on this but the relationship we have to technology is very important ("robot took my job so now I can be a writer, wohoo!"). When we have the impression that technology will further deepen the rifts in society, then we are unlikely to act on deepening rifts in society. When we assume that social progress needs to go hand in hand with technological progress then we are far more likely to act and say "AI can be really helpful but using it to identify non-productive employees can be very anti-social and discriminatory".

"Can you keep this confidential? How do you know?"

Can you keep a secret?

As far as I know: yes I am good at keeping secrets.

How do you know?

People have observed, that I am very concious about talking about other people. I say things like "you better ask them this in Person" or changing topic when permission groups don't match (e. g. more people present than previously). Like many people, I am concious what's on red tape and what's not. Personally I advocate for transparency but I've learned that some people only make deals when off-tape.

This results in people telling me more secrets. They know I can keep them - they have observed, how I not crack when asked about information I probably have.

Person in my sports club once told me about patients of them. After describing vague psychological behaviour I stopped them and said something along the line of "I probably don't know the person but it's easier than you might think, to pin down individuals based on behaviour". I have a degree in computer science with focus on information management, information transportation, analysis... etc. Maybe that's because I sort of know how much information can be contained inside random excerps. I advocate in fahour of the GDPR and am fairly privacy-minded. I know how e-mail addresses can be used to trivially match online accounts. Thats's why my LessWrong account has a randomly generated e-mail address. Etc.

What exactly do you mean by secret?

'Secret' is someone not to be shared. It's very different from 'not telling'. 'Not telling' means that I say it thruthfully when directly confronted. For example the question "Are you seeing other girls?" is a classic question which I would put under 'not telling'. There's nothing to be gained from yelling it into the world. But if someone asks I'd answer the truth (example completely fictional). 'Secret' on the other hand requires some more active work. Tracking the information which a person knows or knows not. Knowing the relationship between the people. If A told me this and B is a trustee of A then this person probably either knows it already of A hides it from B. That sort of stuff. I think the easiest way to solve this is by containerizing 'Secrets'. Like in a way of 'never say this unless you double checked that it's okay to say right now'. Usually I say the truth. There are no logical loopholes if you answer "can't tell" instead of faking something.

Also helpful: I have a reputation for being a really bad liar. That's good. Because 'acting like a liar' is a good thing when you want to tell the truth on paper while still gaining no acceptancy.

I think my definiton of secret is a bit wonky and might need adjusting. Overall I think the term 'Secret' ist used for too many vague things.

Wireless is a trap

If a given dongle can be spoofed into providing arbitrary HID input (or just arbitrary keystrokes, in addition to mouse movement and clicks), that would be a more serious vulnerability.

Dongles of bluetooth keyboards certainly can input arbitrary keystrokes. That's already enough to do basically anything on the computer. For example the tab character can be used to switch between different UI elements and exploits are usually carried out in code and not by manually navigating through files or windows.

Covid-19: My Current Model

Thinking about how to act during the pandemic is very important. Tbh I dislike some aspects of this post. Some parts of it seem very emotion-fueled and political.

For example:

Governments Most Places Are Lying Liars With No Ability To Plan or Physically Reason. They Can’t Even Stop Interfering and Killing People

This seems to be a very angloamerican thing. Here in europe things are bad (e. g. Norway, Italy, ...) but overall, our political system seems to apply appropriate force when required. Badly struck areas are in lockdown while other areas have open restaurants and open zoos. Sure, not every decision will be right, but listening to science and cooperating across borders really helps.

So for me, this post seems to spread a lot of FUD, something which is pretty hurtful to some people when they feel lack of control and physical isolation. Maybe we can compile this into a resource on how to understand exponential risk, superspreader theory and how to interpret the current research which is done on the SARS-CoV2 virus. Because let's be honest: most people suck at understanding epidemics (we call the few remaining people "epidemiologist" and there's a reason why they're spend so many years in uni). Let's not make the mistake and become hobby-epidemiologists.

[VIDEO] Harm reduction, hacker psychology

The same problems as with Alcoholics Anonymous should apply. Since AA does not store records it's very hard for studies to analyze its effectiveness. This wikipedia page lists various studies which show (or don't show) the effectiveness of AA. The effectiveness of AA is of high interest for anti-drug research. If it can't be analyzed on AA-scale then it probably can't be analyzed by a single individual working at a phone.

It's probably better to just shrug it off as a personal opinion of the reporter and focus on the main point instead.

For progress to be by accumulation and not by random walk, read great books

I'd like to quote this argument from here:

Distillation works best in very exact sciences, such as physics and mathematics. If you rely on distillation for an inexact science, you will do best at capturing its exact parts. You will be left with a systematic bias, and knowledge gap, regarding its inexact parts.

Load More